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Agriculture: Dairy Farms

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 12 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to ensure that all dairy farmers in the United Kingdom allot a minimum of 610 mm of head space to each cow in their herds. [HL1192]

There are no specific requirements in UK animal welfare legislation regarding head space for dairy cows in cubicles. However, Defra’s Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Cattle, with which dairy farmers must by law be familiar, includes a section on cow cubicles. The code recommends that cubicles should be designed to enable cows to lie down and stand up easily without injuring themselves.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they will propose to ensure that dairy farmers make significant reductions in the carbon footprint of their herds over the medium term. [HL1193]

The Government have a number of strands of work that aim to foster reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the dairy sector and agriculture as a whole:

We have worked collaboratively with the dairy supply chain to develop the Roadmap process to reduce the negative environmental impacts of liquid milk production and consumption in the UK. The Milk Roadmap, published in May 2008 includes a number of challenging targets for the entire sector to achieve. The Roadmap and targets will be reviewed regularly.

We are looking to establish a cost-effective policy framework to reduce GHG emissions from the agriculture, forestry and land management sector and encourage practices that sequester carbon.

We are working with the Rural Climate Change Forum and through the Farming Futures project to raise awareness of climate change and to help ensure that farmers and land managers have the information and advice they need to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

We are working to drive faster growth in the uptake of anaerobic digestion.

We are also working to influence international policy and organisations and to learn from the experience of other countries.

Our agriculture and climate change workstream is supported by a strong programme of research which is developing options for GHG mitigation from agriculture including emissions from the diary sector.

In partnership with the Carbon Trust and British Standards, we have developed a publicly available specification (PAS) for assessing the lifecycle GHG emissions of goods and services to enable those in the food supply chain who wish to do so to measure the embedded GHG in their products, and identify where reductions can be made.